How do I protect my intellectual property on Amazon?
It’s long been an online discussion over whether Amazon itself or the Sellers that operate on it should be responsible for intellectual property infringement on the site.
Amazon is effectively provided immunity via the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that was introduced in 1998. The DMCA contains a provision that basically provides immunity to Amazon and other online service providers if they have taken on and implemented a mechanism for notifying Sellers when copyright infringement is occurring, as well as a process for the “taking down” of the infringing materials.
So you can still find yourself suspended if you have infringed another Seller’s intellectual property (their copyright or trademark), but it won’t be Amazon facing liability for that infringement.
They do have to take action however, and if you discover one of your copyrighted or trademarked works is being used without permission to sell products on Amazon, there are steps you can take. It is worth reading the form you can submit to Amazon at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/report/infringement/signin.
Thompson and Holt’s senior case manager Laura Monk is vastly experienced in the subject, and explained: “Amazon has a relatively straightforward process for addressing claims of copyright infringement.
“You can submit an online report of the infringement to Amazon, including a statement by you that outlines the copyright or trademarks your have, and how they have been used without your permission by another Seller on the site.
“Having a registered copyright and the relevant registration number is key here, and will help you with your takedown notice. When Amazon has all the information it needs, it will contact the accused Seller in an attempt to resolve the issue amicably and without suspension. It might be something as straight forward as no longer using a particular image, and that picture being withdraw.
“However not all cases are straight-forward and can become more complex. The Seller in question is allowed to submit a counter-notice defending themselves, and if that is the case, you will be notified of it. Amazon must then make a judgement over whether an infringement has been made and take the appropriate action.
“If the business filing the initial complaint does not institute litigation for copyright infringement within 10 to 14 days, Amazon typically will restore the initial content and leave it to the involved parties to seek a judicial determination of whether there is copyright infringement.
“If you have found yourself on the other side of an intellectual property infringement and have been suspended or excluded by Amazon, then get in touch with Thompson and Holt to establish your exact position. We can help you take the next steps to reinstating your account and avoiding a repeat of the same situation again in the future.”
Amazon’s full intellectual property policy can be read here: https://sellercentral.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/external/201361070.
If you have found yourself suspended while selling on Amazon, contact Thompson and Holt for a free LiveChat to get your Seller business back online as quickly as possible.